capitalism

Enviros are watermelons – green on the outside, red in the middle

Many environmental groups claim their actions and policies are necessary to save the planet from all sorts of real and imagined problems. As I’ve reported in a previous post (Climate and Communism) radical environmentalists don’t like capitalism because it impedes their utopian fantasy. For instance, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is reported to have said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. The really good model is communist China.

Recently, at a conference in Venezuela, 130 environmental groups signed a document called the Margarita Declaration (It’s in Spanish) in which they declared we must end capitalism to save the world from global warming. (See story in the Daily Caller.) “The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” reads the final draft of the report. These same activists not only want to end capitalism, but also U.N.-backed efforts to fight global warming — namely, cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs.

The enviro war on capitalism is not new, they have opposed almost all forms of energy, many mining ventures, and almost anything else that would disturb the environment (and it’s always the “pristine” environment.)

Back in 2011, an article in Forbes, asked “Does a liberal democracy have sufficient resolve to stomach the economic and political sacrifices required to stabilize global warming? A growing number of climate scientists believe the answer is ‘no.’ In their view, democratic institutions are perpetuating climate change by precluding implementation of the politically unpalatable actions needed to reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

What we really need according to the enviros is more command and control by government. And the Obama administration is complying. A 2012 report from the Heritage Foundation begins:

“During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans. This is almost four times the number—and more than five times the cost—of the major regulations issued by George W. Bush during his first three years. Hundreds more regulations are winding through the rulemaking pipeline as a consequence of the Dodd–Frank financial-regulation law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming crusade, threatening to further weaken an anemic economy and job creation.”

British journalist James Delinpole has a book titled “Watermelons – How environmentalists are killing the planet, destroying the economy and stealing your children’s future.” A review by John Brignell of Number Watch, begins:

“They are green on the outside, but under the skin the deepest of reds. Their methods are neo-Marxist, especially in the adoption of a form of Trotskyite entryism. The green veneer derives from their first successful coup in achieving control of the environmentalist group Greenpeace, resulting in the departure of original members such as Patrick Moore, the co-founder. Their subsequent success in infiltrating and taking control of leading institutions of politics, science and the media has been nothing less than extraordinary. The organization is diffuse, largely invisible and contains members who are highly various, ranging from violent revolutionaries to failed politicians who have turned their attention to personal wealth creation. In an age of specious conspiracy theories they have created the greatest and most lucrative conspiracy in the history of human civilization.”

Just think of the environmental state of capitalist countries versus dictatorships which the enviros seem to favor. In most communist countries in Europe, for instance, the environment was trashed in endless failed five-year plans.

Capitalists realized that it is in their best interest to keep the environment healthy because wealth is created from natural resources to produce capital goods and services. The more goods available to a society, the wealthier that society is. Reasonably unfettered capitalism is the best engine to produce those goods. In a capitalist society, even the poor are better off than those in non-capitalist countries; just compare the U.S. with some African countries. Many politicians, including many in the current crop, think the economy is a zero sum game. Hence they attempt to “redistribute the wealth” in the name of fairness. But their attempts to make things “fair” just decreases the size of the economic pie, to the detriment of all.

Beware of the environmental sophists, the self-appointed elitists who think they know better.

See Also:
Environmental Sophistry
Capitalism is not a zero sum game
The Collectivist Mind

Book Review: The Morality of Capitalism

capitalismThis book, edited by Tom G. Palmer, is intended for college students. It consists of 14 contemporary essays from all over the world. The major topics are the virtues of entrepreneurial capitalism, voluntary interaction and self-interest, production and distribution of wealth, and globalizing capitalism.

The essayists make a specific distinction between free-market capitalism and “crony” capitalism in which failed firms are “bailed out” with money taken from taxpayers. Of crony capitalism one essayist writes, “the national capital is little more than a gigantic pulsating hive of rent-seeking lobbyists, bureaucrats, politicians, consultants, and hacks, and in which appointed officials of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve System take it upon themselves to reward some firms and punish others.”

The essayists favor ending all subsidies.

The essayists discuss the theory of capitalism in relation to Marxism, socialism, the welfare state, and “social justice.”

John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, says, “The beautiful thing about capitalism is that it’s ultimately based on voluntary exchange for mutual benefit.” In other words, capitalists and free societies prosper because capitalists produce the goods and services people want.

David Boaz of the Cato Institute writes, ” The market arises from two facts: that human beings can accomplish more in cooperation with others than individually and that we can recognize this.” “Critics of markets often complain that capitalism encourages and rewards self-interest. In fact, people are self-interested under any political system.”

David Kelley of the Atlas Society writes: “The principle of rights says that we must deal with others peaceably, by voluntary exchange, without initiating the use of force against them.” Kelly asks what about people who are poor, disabled or otherwise unable to support themselves. His harsh answer is ” No one can claim a right to make others serve him involuntarily, even if his own life depends on it.” This is tempered by the observation that such people are better off in free societies and benefit by voluntary charity. Kelly also discusses distribution of wealth, the communist idea of egalitarianism.

Temba Nolutshungu, a South African economist, notes, “Government-generated jobs are at the taxpayers’ expense and amount to subsidized employment. Being unsustainable, they have no positive economic consequence. The private sector is the main creator of wealth, and the state sector a consumer.”

That gives you a taste of the book. A couple of the essays are a bit heavy going, but most are lucid and all are thought-provoking. In essence, capitalism is an amazing vehicle for social cooperation because such cooperation benefits the capitalist individually and society as a whole.

The book is available from Amazon here. The publisher is Jameson Books, Inc. Of Ottawa, Illinois.

Capitalism is not a zero sum game

In game theory, a zero sum game is one in which the gains of one are exactly balanced by the losses of another. In economics, a zero sum game is aptly described by the saying, “As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.” Many assume that our “economic pie” is static, so that if some take more of the pie, there is less for others to share. But capitalism increases the size of the pie, and although some may get bigger pieces than others, all gain.

Wealth is not money. In the economic sense, wealth is created from natural resources to produce capital goods and services. The more goods available to a society, the wealthier that society is. Reasonably unfettered capitalism is the best engine to produce those goods. In a capitalist society, even the poor are better off than those in non-capitalist countries; just compare the U.S. with some African countries.

Many politicians, including the current crop, think the economy is a zero sum game. Hence they attempt to “redistribute the wealth” in the name of fairness. But this attempt to make things “fair” just decreases the size of the economic pie, to the detriment of all.

The federal government, and some state governments, are hindering creation of wealth through a myriad of regulations that make creation of capital goods, and hence wealth, much more difficult than it could or should be.

About 80% of the U.S. economy is now in the service sector. While many services are valuable and may help producers of wealth; services, themselves, are not intrinsically wealth producers. In our economy, about 71% of GDP is made up of consumer spending which is highly sensitive to job creation, personal wealth, and after tax income. As the real wealth creators, the manufacturing and energy sectors decline, the service sector will feed on itself and eventually our economy will become a zero sum game.

The best way out of our economic mess is to unfetter and unleash the capitalists so that our “economic pie” becomes bigger. Government is currently a large part of the problem. It should just get out of the way.